Droga5 and JPMorgan Chase Call Attention to ‘The Waiting Workforce’ With Art Installation

By Kyle O'Brien 

JPMorgan Chase, in partnership with Droga5, has made an art installation and campaign that calls stark attention to a group of people who remain underemployed.

“The Waiting Workforce” is an art installation that takes place in Philadelphia’s Independence Plaza throughout the month of April for Second Chance Month. The installation is meant to shine a light on the problem that 1 in 3 Americans with prior criminal records face or have faced significant barriers to finding meaningful employment, and the importance of Clean Slate legislation that would bring automatic record clearing and ultimately more employment opportunities for those who already paid their dues.

The Waiting Workforce on display in Philadelphia at Independence Plaza.


The installation consists of 38 sculptures that represent people with past criminal records in waiting positions made out of real expungement papers, showing how this complex and costly paperwork is the thing keeping them out of the workforce. There are 38 statues for the 38 states that have yet to pass Clean Slate legislation.

A campaign video interviews those who have had troubles finding work after their incarceration.

Pennsylvania was the first state to pass Clean Slate legislation, so launching the campaign there opens the opportunity for other states to follow its lead. JPMorgan Chase also hosted the Second Chance Business Coalition Conference to release the latest data on the expungement problem in the U.S.

“The Waiting Workforce” is an extension of JPMC’s “Make Happen” brand purpose campaign, which Droga5 created and launched late last year with the brand.

To convey the scale of the issue, Droga5 used 1.2 million pages of real expungement paperwork to build the Waiting Workforce and educate the public about the issue and solution. When a new state passes Clean Slate legislation, the idea is that that state’s statue will be removed until there are none left.

“This was a creative solution for such an important cause, one where we needed to ensure it was memorable, inspiring and engaging, especially because it affects millions of people in our country,” said Scott Bell, chief creative officer at Droga5 in a statement. “This is a prime example of how we can use creativity to affect change – even though millions of people are suffering to get back into society, millions more don’t even know about this problem, nor that there is a solution to it.”

JPMC and Droga5 developed the project with Sydney-based art and directing collective, The Glue Society. The film partner was Biscuit Filmworks.

Close up shots of the statues in ‘The Waiting Workforce’ art installation.